Once Mike Kendrick aka Man Alive moved to New York he decided to release some music. On his self-titled EP Man Alive Kendrick provides us with simple folksongs that have been replicated from Bob Dylan's heyday to this present. There is nothing inherently wrong with this style. It is just that in this day and age there are so, so many singer/songwriters putting out EPs and albums full of nothing else than a guitar and vocals because recording has gotten so affordable.
Kendrick still has his work cut out for him if he hopes to stick out from a crowd full of extremely talented singer/songwriters. That being said everyone has to start somewhere and there is no doubt he has an aesthetically pleasing voice and can write a song.
The only percussion you will hear which comes in the form of a shaker is presented to us on the opener “John Bonnie's Bride.” Kendrick softly strums a pleasant yet simple melody. Within his voice he has an inflection that reminds of the typical bohemian songwriter - slightly tortured, nostalgic and reflective. Kendrick provides a narrative instead of dwelling in poetic ambiguity. He tells several tales during this five-minute song.
“You Got to My Heart” revolves around a basic strummed chord progression. Luckily, his vocals are able to carry the song. His lyrics are well written and you will definitely have the words “You got to my mind, you got to my soul” stuck in your head.
“Coffee and a Battle in the Morning” seems to be directly influenced by Dylan. The lyrics mostly feel like a stream of consciousness. It’s arguably the highlight of the three and Kendrick’s words are unequivocally well delivered.
Kendrick does play into the bohemian folk hero archetype and I’m sure he is aware of that. Some acts like The Tallest Man on Earth feed that trope as well and get away with it. I would say Kendrick does too. That being said I would like hear his songs define a bit more of his own essence in the future. He has the tools and now just needs to take the next step.
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